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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud has emerged as the largest party with the all votes counted in Israel's unprecedented fourth election in two years.
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However, Netanyahu still does not have a clear path to a 61-seat majority needed to form a coalition.
The anti-Netanyahu bloc, a patchwork of left, right and centrist factions, is also just shy of a majority. The Islamist United Arab List party, headed by Mansour Abbas, and Naftali Bennett's Yamina have not yet declared their support for either bloc.
6:14 P.M. Gantz to discuss gov't formation with Lapid after Passover
Defense Minister and Kahol Lavan party head Benny Gantz is set to meet his former colleague, Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid, after Passover. The two will discuss how to form a government without Prime Mininister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Haaretz)
5:30 P.M. Lieberman says will recommend Lapid as PM candidate to President Rivlin
Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday his party would recommend to President Reuven Rivlin that Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid be tasked with forming a coalition government.
Lieberman didn't explicitly name Lapid in his Facebook post, but wrote that he would "back the chairman of a party from the opposition bloc that received the most Knesset seats as the candidate for Prime Minister."
Lapid's Yesh Atid, a member of the anti-Netanyahu bloc, secured 17 Knesset seats in Tuesday's election. "Anyone who attempts to sabotage this move and puts his ego above the national interest will bear the responsibility of a fifth election," Lieberman wrote. (Haaretz)
>> Read the full report here.
12:40 P.M. Lapid, Islamist party leader Abbas meet to discuss forming a government
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid and United Arab List head Mansour Abbas, who has been propelled into the center of Israeli politics as an unlikely kingmaker, met Sunday to discuss the possibility of forming a government.
The meeting took place at Lapid's home in Tel Aviv and he was the one who initiated the meeting, according to sources. A statemnet realsed by the United Arab List said Lapid and Abbas would meet again in coming days to discuss forming a government.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud has emerged as the largest party with all the votes counted in Israel's unprecedented fourth election in two years, but lacks an immediate majority to form a coalition. (Jonathan Lis)
>> Read the full report here.
5 P.M. Yamina Chairman Naftali Bennett calls on parties to ‘extricate Israel from the chaos’
In the wake of Israel’s election on Tuesday, Yamina Chairman Naftali Bennett spoke on Friday afternoon with the heads of Israel’s leading political parties, save for the Joint List and United Arab List, with the aim of forming a government.
Bennett urged the leaders of these parties to “extricate Israel from the chaos.” (Josh Breiner)
2:15 P.M. Attorney General pushes Netanyahu, Gantz to appoint Justice Minister
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Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit on Friday urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the acting Justice Minister Benny Gantz to fill several key ministerial positions, amid the imminent expiration of temporary appointments.
The attorney general emphasized the significance of the Justice Ministry in particular. "A situation in which the Justice Ministry is left without an incumbent minister will seriously harm the ministry's work and the functioning of the government," Mendelblit said. (Netael Bandel)
12:50 P.M. Lapid, Lieberman meet to discuss forming government
Yesh Atid and Yisrael Beiteinu’s chairmen, Yair Lapid and Avigdor Lieberman, met on Friday to discuss the possibility for forming a government. The two, who have 17 and seven seats respectively, and will meet again in the near future.
This comes after Lieberman announced his intention to push for legislation banning someone currently charged with crimes from forming a government, therefore making it impossible for Netanyahu to run in another election. (Jonathan Lis)
9:19 P.M. Anti-Netanyahu parties divided on next move
Parties opposed to another Netanyahu-led government have begun debating their next moves. Some prominent members of these parties say the focus should be on figuring out a way to overcome ideological differences and form a coalition.
Other party leaders, including Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman, believe that a new election is in the offing, are calling for promoting legislation banning someone currently charged with crimes from forming a government, therefore making it impossible for Netanyahu to run in another election.
"We have not managed to crack the formula that will allow the formation of a government of change," one party leader told Haaretz. "The results we achieved are clear, and they give us the opportunity to create an alternative [to Netanyahu], and we will certainly do that." (Jonathan Lis)
8:24 P.M. New Hope lawmaker Shasha-Biton says Likud offered her education portfolio in bid to make her defect
Lawmaker Yifat Shasha-Biton, a member of New Hope who broke off from Likud in December, told Channel 12 News Thursday that Likud has approached each member of New Hope with offers to convince them to defect so that Netanyahu can create a coalition. Shasha-Biton said she had been offered the role of education minister. "There will absolutely not be any defectors," she said. "We will make an effort to form a government of change and prevent a fifth election." (Haaretz)
8:19 P.M. Near-final results show no change in distribution of seats
The Central Elections Committee has released the full count of the vote, showing no change in the distribution of seats from earlier in the day. Parties supporting Netanyahu total 52 seats, and those opposing him 57, with the uncommitted Yamina and United Arab List parties holding a combined 11 seats. The results are not considered final, as they must be made official before being sent to President Reuven Rivlin next week. (Netael Bandel)
7:32 P.M. Lieberman says will promote bill barring criminal defendant from forming government
Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman said on Thursday that he will advance a bill that will prevent a criminal defendant from forming a government.
"I am committed to doing everything I can to prevent further elections. The first step is to pass a bill to prevent a Knesset member with an indictment from forming a government," Lieberman tweeted.
He added that he expects "all parties who seek change to take responsibility and join this bill."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party responded on Twitter that, "A 'bloc for change' truly means an anti-democratic bloc. The change they really seek is to pass laws that exist only in Iran to obstruct candidates and reject the democratic choice of over one million citizens in Israel."
Following Lieberman's announcement, Likud MK Miki Zohar added that, "Legislation that is personally against Netanyahu will be a tragedy for the ages. It will shame us and make us appear to the world as a repressive regime. In a democracy only the public chooses who can lead the country. " (Jack Khoury and Jonathan Lis)